The Other Woman (2014) – Review

Directed by Nick Cassevetes
Written by Melissa Stack
Starring Leslie Mann, Cameron Diaz, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kate Upton

Okay, okay, don’t get too excited. I’m not going to be as horrible about this as you think I am. There is a reason I didn’t watch this before now. And that reason is all of you. Somewhere at the back of the room, I can hear a group of worried marketing executives harping on about The Bechdel Test and shaking their heads forlornly at the mere thought of a film like this being made.This ‘de rigeur’ movement in the industry to stop film-makers doing what they want to in order to make movies that someone else thinks they should has now become so overbearing that a perfectly harmless and hopefully funny story is butchered by most critics because they simply want to make the right noises to keep the venomous minority at bay. Well fuck them. And fuck you too, if you think the same way. They can dress up their excuses any way they like, but we know better, and unfortunately for them, we are honest about it. We have no palms to grease, after all.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, again, perhaps it might be politic to actually look at the film on it’s own merits, you know, as a form of entertainment? This is not a politically correct message any more than it carries a call to arms to wives and girlfriends everywhere who have been cheated on by their seemingly predictable and carpet-bombed men. It’s only a movie, ladies and gentlemen. You knew it was probably going to be tiresome and teeth-gratingly shallow when you walked in. It’s fluff, we know. I just wish audiences would get more credit for the choice of film they pick without dissecting their reasons for picking it. “So we went to see The Other Woman, you may stone me now, Your Honour”. For every ten of these thoughtless, seemingly mass produced popcorn flicks that we sit through, we may get one pearl.
As I’m asked often enough for it to become tiresome, I watch movies like this because in order to appreciate greatness, you have to realise what is not in the least bit great. Advice for the ladies featured in this film; you may need to kiss a fair few frogs before you find your prince. Perhaps you could accuse them of being a little bit short-sighted by all kissing the same frog over and over and hoping to get a different result from what we all know to be true. Love is a funny thing, however, and it can apparently befuddle even the sharpest of ladies.But us mere movie reviewers are just like the women featured. We’re all just trying to find that pearl. We may rightly suspect that we won’t find it here, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth having quick look, just to be sure. Ignorance is bliss, maybe, but is that really what you want? So don’t kiss any frogs.

Falling slightly short of the Kermode patented five laugh barometer required to classify as a funny film by a couple of giggles, The Other Woman seems carelessly conceived, contrived for an audience mostly at issue with their own partners for one reason or another and are maybe hoping to find some kind of catharsis or kindred sisterhood in the revenge dished out by this trio of crossed women displayed here. If that it your reason for seeing this, then you will get a certain amount of satisfaction from it, though still may find yourself feeling guilty for appreciating it in any form.

The rest of us should really see it for what it is; a solid attempt at making a comedy with smarts. Granted, it may lack the requisite amount of humour or a script to be proud of, but when was the last time you heard of someone purposely going out of their way to make a bad film? Well, never, of course, so give them at least some credit for making the effort to entertain us, even if that attempt failed quite spectacularly. Kudos to Diaz for agreeing to stumble down a beach behind the shapely Kate Upton in a bikini as this not only suggests a good deal of humility on the part of the superstar, but a salient point for all actors everywhere. That being that there will be another one along in a minute that is just as talented, but younger and better looking than you are.

If you can ignore the gnashing teeth of the politically correct, then feel free to watch it, if you really want to, as it isn’t as bad as you have heard. It’s overlong by a good twenty minutes and has an admittedly ugly central premise, but what the hell, you don’t have to think about it, just sit there with your mouth full of popcorn, as that is sometimes all that you need and want.

 

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